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law society united against new Bill
August 28, 2005
Harare - For the first
time Zimbabwe's Law Society has issued a statement signed by all elected
members of its council, including those seen as supportive of President
Robert Mugabe, condemning constitutional amendments due to become law
The Law Society's
nine elected council members put out a statement last week saying that
the 22 amendments, particularly those on freedom of movement and property
rights were an "undisguised frontal assault" which "fully merits censure".
It said that the amendments deprived Zimbabweans of "fundamental rights
to own property, secure protection of the law, and freedom of movement
for the people who rely on the constitution for protection against state
President of the Law
Society, Joseph James said yesterday that this was an "auspicious moment"
in the history of the organisation. "The statement has every councillor's
signature, to prevent any misunderstanding, or any attempt which might
arise to suggest the council is divided as has happened in the past. It
also prevents any councillor denying they did not support what we have
The statement was
sent this week to all law and bar associations in Africa and beyond, including
South Africa. The condemnation by the Zimbabwe Law Society leaves Zanu-PF
isolated from all professional institutions including those which normally
stay out of political developments. Even within its own ranks, the debates
in parliament last week were poorly attended by Zanu- PF and when the
Bill passed through last Tuesday, there was none of the usual ululating
from the government benches.
"The Law Society of
Zimbabwe urges the government to abandon its moves through the constitutional
amendment…and to commence an open, free and fair consultative constitutional
review process leading to the enactment of a new constitution," the society
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